Friday, August 24, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Badal backs Centre on amnesty issue
T.R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 23
The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, rushed here on being summoned by the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, and was categoric in expressing his opposition to the proposal of providing blanket amnesty to police personnel as it would vitiate the atmosphere in the state.

With Assembly elections barely six months away and Mr Badal accused of being very soft towards those police officers against whom there were allegations of excesses during the anti-militancy operations, the Chief Minister sought a different and what he felt was a rational approach.

Mr Badal, who held extended discussions with Mr Advani this evening, felt that according blanket amnesty to police personnel at this juncture for alleged acts of omission and commission in the fight against militancy in Punjab would be highly counter-productive.

He is believed to have impressed upon Mr Advani that the state had already taken steps in dealing with repression and violation of human rights. Therefore, going into the issue afresh or granting unhindered amnesty so far down the line would lead to avoidable complications.

Nevertheless, Mr Badal did not seem averse to the Centre studying the problem of insurgency and secessionism in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeastern parts of the country in its entirety with the object of framing a new, contemporary law to deal with these challenges. Simultaneously, he was not against providing some relief to the security forces.

Mr Badal is under persistent attack from various factions of the SAD that he has been providing a shield to all those cops who had transgressed their limits in fighting the menace of terrorism.

Mr Badalís apprehension is that if he agrees to any proposal of blanket amnesty it will provide a lever to his rivals and critics in pushing the SAD into a tight corner.

The Chief Minister called on Mr Vajpayee, after his discussions with Mr Advani and apprised him of the overall developments in the state.

Officials said Mr Badalís meeting with the Prime Minister was political in nature and the prospects of the SAD-BJP in the forthcoming Assembly polls were discussed at the meeting. Mr Badal also took up various other issues with Mr Vajpayee and sought his good offices in resolving the protracted SYL canal issue.Back


Arafat briefs Vajpayee
Tribune News Service

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee hugging Palestinian President Yasser Arafat in New Delhi on Thursday.
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee hugging Palestinian President Yasser Arafat in New Delhi on Thursday. ó PTI photo

New Delhi, August 23
Even as PLO leader Yasser Arafat today briefed Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on the prevailing situation in West Asia which has recently witnessed escalated violence between Palestinians and Israelis, a special emissary of Israeli Foreign Minister Simon Peres is arriving here on Sunday to put across Tel Avivís stand on the issue.

Mr Arafat arrived here last night.

Mr Arafatís scheduled meeting with President K.R. Narayanan was called off since the President is indisposed, official sources said.

Mr Arafat left for Beijing after an 11-hour stay in the Capital.


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